Going “zero waste” has been a trending topic over the past couple of years; no prizes for who guesses why. YouTubers and bloggers have latched onto the supposed “challenge” with a fervour, going zero waste for a day, a week, or a month. But for many, that lifestyle simply isn’t sustainable. (See what I did there?)
However, with stories of the Pacific Garbage Patch, sea creatures becoming entangled in plastic refuse, and other trash-related phenomena are becoming more and more common. With the world in the midst of a rapidly changing climate (Auckland weather changes every 5 minutes), people’s minds have been turning to one question: How do I reduce my waste?
We’re all moving through the world at a fair clip, which makes it so easy to get through the entire day without realising how much waste we produce. Coffee, takeaways, that last iced frappe your desperately needed to get through the 3 pm slump—these are all opportunities to reduce your waste if you have a go-bag.
It starts with being prepared, and that means carrying a few essentials. Bring the following items with you every day, everywhere you go, and you’ll always be prepared to substitute a wasteful norm with a sustainable alternative. ♻️
Straws are plastic, but they are not fantastic. 🥤 Straws are pretty much everywhere, so we’ve got to fight the norm individually to create a huge impact.
We can reduce a lot of our everyday waste by simply refusing straws at any takeout joints, coffee shops and other straw-related places. Just bring one with you. They’re cool and made of metal, and they don’t end up messing with turtles that are just going about their days in the ocean. 🐢🌊
Reusable Coffee Cup
This is especially pertinent if you’re an unrepentant caffeine addict (much like myself). Having a reusable cup on you reduces the number of single-use coffee cups you use over the course of your lifetime, which is nothing to shake your head at.
Let’s say you have one café coffee per workday to get you through the morning in a less zombie-like state. That’s five cups a week. That’s 260 cups a year. That’s a lot of waste unnecessary waste! Cut it down to zero with one purchase, easily! And if you really can’t justify buying one of the $30 eco cups, just peel the label off of a mason jar and use that. Cheap, easy, and just as effective at holding that precious reviving liquid. ☕
Your Own Water Bottle
If you’re anything like the majority of the population, you probably get to the end of the day with a dehydration headache and various cans or bottles littering the space around you. Give that situation the old one-two and invest in a good water bottle that you can refill whenever you want instead of buying liquids in packaging. It saves you a ton of money, encourages you to drink water, and contributes to saving the environment while you’re at it!
For an added sustainability bonus, opt for a bottle that’s made of glass or stainless steel if you can, as plastic bottles can still end up clogging landfills for years to come. But frankly, at the end of the day, you need to love using your bottle for it to be a smart purchase, so choose one that’s portable, stylish, and easy to drink from. 💧
A Tote Bag
For that “oh sh*t, I forgot” kind of grocery trip or your latest purchase from the local thrift store, make sure you don’t have to ask for extra bags. Canvas totes are incredibly easy to carry around with you because they fold up so small and don’t take up that much space. You can just shove a tote or two into the bottom of your day bag and Bob’s your uncle. (Or maybe he’s not, I don’t really know you.) 👷♂️
And finally, having a few slim containers can help you at the grocery store when you’re picking up bulk items, or you can hand one over the counter at your local sushi joint to prevent the use of a single-use cardboard container. This is a great way to indulge in your favourite takeout while reducing your waste. Plus, it’s sturdier than the usual containers takeout comes in, so you’re much less likely to squash it on your walk back to the office. (Hmm, or maybe that’s just me. 🤔)
Taking the smallest efforts to reduce your waste actually does a lot more than you might think, so if you’ve been feeling trepidation at the fate of the world recently, you can do your part. Pick these things up (you don’t have to get the fancy, expensive minimalist versions) and have them in your bag on the daily. Encourage the people around you to do the same. After all, every bit counts!
Subscribe to Zizacious for more of the sustainable content you know and love.
We’ll send an update with the latest publications to your inbox every week, for free! Read up on the latest in fashion, sustainability, design and much more, all with the click of a button.